#PeopleOfWilmDE: K.O. Simms

Updated October 8, 2020
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Meet K.O. Simms - Impressionist Artist

K.O. Simms is an Impressionist Artist we met while walking on the Jack A. Markell Trail on the Riverfront. Follow his art through his Instagram and website, and learn his incredible story.

K.O. Simms with his painting“I’ve lived in Wilmington since 1971 when my family first moved. I moved out of state for five years to Atlanta, Georgia, but I returned because I missed our weather and seasons of change. My father’s truck driving job relocation brought us from Greenwood, Delaware to the city of Wilmington.

I went to Delcastle Vocational Technical High School in Newport, Delaware, where I majored in Commercial Art and graduated in 1975. My first job was at the Gino’s at 11th and French when I was hired to cook on the grill. I went on to work for the Edgemoor duPont Company as a chemical operator and was granted the chance to design and create safety posters throughout the plant. 

ln 1988, it was the 350th celebration of the landing of the Swedes in Wilmington. I was working for the Hotel duPont, when they purchased my pen and ink original drawing of the Fort Christina Park Kalmar Nyckel Monument. They presented it as a gift to the visiting King Carl XVI Gustav and Queen Silvia of Sweden. This was the beginning of an opportunity for me to become an international artist.

I love living in Wilmington because it’s a small, vibrant city that offers various career opportunities. Throughout the years I have lived on the East Side and it has been very convenient for me to walk to the different scenes throughout the city that I have captured as impressionist paintings.

Over the past 45 years of painting outdoors in the city of Wilmington I have enjoyed many opportunities and have also had the privilege to teach and share my skills with the many students at the Kuumba Academy, Christina Cultural Center, Delaware College Preparatory Academy, and the Boys and Girls Clubs of Delaware.

Thankfully my art helps engaging people in conversations as a starting point to reflect on the past and present. By painting outdoors, quite often people are inspired, some return to drawing art and others to at least begin. The comfort gained in the peace can be quite a game changer.

I truly hope my years of inspirations will never end and that some of my paintings will always be discussed.”

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